Before the recent trend of hosting bridal showers at restaurants or banquet halls, families tended to host them in the comfort of their own homes or even in their backyards. Not only are these home celebrations more personable, but they also tend to be more affordable. However, you can host some spectacularly swanky events in your yard if you prefer a more upscale ambiance. Like any event, a backyard bridal shower requires some careful planning and attention to detail in order to make it a success. Use our guide to create a memorable bridal shower experience for the bride, groom, and all their guests.
There’s a lot to consider when planning a special event like a bridal party in your backyard. Will street parking be a problem for guests? How many people can your yard accommodate? Here are a few other considerations:
Time of Year
Although it can rain any time of year, spring and fall tend to feature some especially unpredictable weather patterns. Most people throw bridal parties between two months and two weeks from the wedding date. Think about where that puts your shower in the calendar year. Depending on where you’re located, you may not be able to host an outdoor event during the winter.
Bugs: Uninvited Guests
Bugs like mosquitoes and flies can be a nuisance for backyard guests. If you live in a wooded area or near a water source like a creek, you may want to have your yard sprayed before the event in order to tamp down on these pests. There are also more eco-friendly measures you can take to repel pests. Use citronella candles and add pots of lavender, marigolds, or lemongrass around your patio. These plants naturally deter insect pests.
The sheer number of people in your yard is sure to create considerable noise. Talk to your neighbors before you host your event to let them know your plans. You definitely want to head off any neighborhood complaints about your party if you can.
Flow of the Space
Think about how to design your party. How does your yard flow? It makes sense to feature food items on your patio rather than deeper into the yard. Where will guests be seated? Do you have an area for setting up gifts? Your layout will help you keep your party well organized.
Choose Your Menu
Think about your menu from a convenience point of view. Some foods are easier to eat outdoors than others. Moreover, you want to ensure food safety. If it’s summertime, you need to consider how to keep each food item. You can have your event catered, designate some grill masters, or prepare the food yourself. On the other hand, you may want to organize a meal where other great cooks in the family contribute their best dishes.
Have a Plan B
Always have a backup plan when you’re planning an outdoor party. In the event of a rain shower, can your home accommodate guests for the party? What about renting an outdoor tent with sides in case of inclement weather? Is there a nearby church or community hall you can move the party to in a pinch if need be? Consider your options and have a solid backup plan you can roll with.
You don’t want your party to ‘meander’ or guests will get bored. Have a schedule so that you can keep the event on track. You’ll want to set aside time for mingling, eating, playing games, and opening gifts. Don’t forget dessert!
Depending on your backyard’s size and what you’re up to, you may wish to host an event that accommodates both sides of the family or just your side. Talk to the couple or other family members involved in the wedding plans to find out the best route to take. You may be able to coordinate one big shower, or someone on the other side may have a smaller shower in mind for their family’s side.
Hosting an event even of modest size requires some investment. Food, beverages, and decorations should each have a line in your budget. Will you need to rent tables and chairs, or can you borrow them from a local organization? What about hor d’oeuvres and dessert? You may also want to fix up your front and backyard for more curb appeal.
Planning the bridal shower promises to be loads of fun as you consider themes. Typically, the couple will already have a theme in mind for their wedding, so it makes sense to complement their choices in some way. Otherwise, some popular bridal shower themes include:
Create a vintage bridal shower complete with Gatsby-inspired jeweled and feathered headbands and flapper-style dresses. Opt for a 1920s-style menu along with jazz music and gin fizz cocktails.
Think blooming floral displays, tropical drinks, tiki torches, and flower garlands. If you’re hosting your bridal shower in summer, a tropical theme is a fun way to host a bridal shower.
Host a retro 80s bridal shower with bold colors, big hair, and Depeche Mode turned up to 10.
Sustainable and Earthy
Choose an earthy theme for your bridal shower with biodegradable decorations and locally sourced ingredients.
If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, you’ve got some built-in entertainment for your guests. Enjoy a relaxing pool party with snacks, fruity drinks, and poolside gifts.
Create a fun, festive bridal shower experience with glitz, glamour, and glitter. Add some upscale decorations to your patio and yard to lend Park Avenue ambiance to the event.
A country-western theme is perfect for country settings. If you have the space, throw a Tex-Mex cookout complete with a bonfire and hayrides for guests.
Bring a group of friends to learn expert tips for creating beautiful floral arrangements in a fun setting. This party is ideal for a bridal shower and it is a true celebration of the season’s abundant flowers and produces.
Try to pair your menu with your bridal shower theme. Consider whether you’re offering a buffet luncheon for guests or providing guests with pre-plated meals. You’ll need to have silverware and serving utensils that complement your menu offerings. Try to offer a variety of foods so that your guests, particularly those with special dietary needs, will have something to enjoy from your table.
The decorations you choose should also complement your bridal shower theme. You’ll probably want to have matching tablecloths and tableware for each table as well as a centerpiece. If you’re hosting your event during the day, you shouldn’t need lighting features, but if your party extends into the evening, you may want to set up party lights and lanterns to ensure guests can see.
Your invitations can also reflect your bridal party theme. Be sure that your invitations explain that the event will be held outdoors so they can dress accordingly. You may also want to mention that lunch will be served and provide directions to your home. Make it clear that you want guests to respond whether they will be attending or not so you can get an accurate headcount, which is essential so that you know how many people to prepare for.
Bridal Shower Favors
Bridal shower favors are a small traditional offering for guests. Since you’ll be hosting your shower in your yard, perhaps, near your garden, you can offer each guest a small plant or even flower seeds packed in an organza bag. You can also match your party favors to the shower theme. While candy and mints are traditional offerings, don’t be afraid to offer favors that are quite unique.
As you set up your backyard for the shower, choose a section of your patio where guests can help themselves to drinks such as coffee, iced tea, punch, or cocktails if you’re serving them. Be sure there are plenty of glasses, napkins, sugar packets, and straws to accompany your drinks.
Guests will likely be bringing gifts of all different sizes. Set up a gift table so that guests know where to place these offerings. If the day is breezy, be sure to set up a heavy box with a lid so that guests can drop envelopes into it if they’re giving cash or gift cards to the couple.
Entertainment and Games
When people attend bridal showers, they typically expect to play shower games or enjoy some type of entertainment. If you’re featuring games, be sure to have prizes for winners. Some common games that guests play at bridal showers include:
- Ring hunt
- Bridal shower bingo
- Wedding jeopardy
- The Newlywed Game
- Who Said It
- Wedding Movie Charades
Hosting a bridal shower is a big undertaking, but it’s definitely a labor of love, something memorable that you can do for the couple in question. The best parties usually involve great food, a relaxing atmosphere, and time to chat with family and friends. If you can pull that off, your shower is likely to be a success. Don’t forget to get your bridesmaids involved in all the process, not only will they feel honored but you will enjoy a memorable time together.